New Kids On The Block

Sept. 17, 2013

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By Jenna Marina

ORLANDO, Fla. ( - One is a maniacal worker who possesses a sure foot in front of the net. One is a dominating presence who can make anything into a play with her solid first touch. One is all business who is never satisfied with the status quo, constantly self-evaluating for ways to improve.

Together, Kayla Adamek, Lena Petermann, and Caroline Bado are three freshmen who have cannonballed into their collegiate careers as starters for the UCF women's soccer team.

For a squad who boasts All-Americans, conference champions, school record holders and four-year starters, the UCF coaching staff's decision to call upon three rookies speaks volumes about the trio's character.

"They weren't waiting to figure out what the scene was before they started just being themselves. They did that from the get-go," head coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak said. "They are tough mentally, they all have a competitive fire, and you can't deny a player like that. They are also very talented."

Bado, a native of Tampa, Fla., came to UCF not as a defender, but as a midfielder. Although she had little-to-no experience as a defender, she was up to the challenge of taking over the left back position for graduated senior Bianca Joswiak, who holds the school record for career games played.

It turns out, Bado's former life as an attacker fits perfectly with UCF's style of play for its defenders, whose outside backs like to push up the field. She calls it the best of both worlds.

With the exception of the season opener, she has played every minute to help UCF clinch five shutouts already.

"She has a lot of qualities to be on our youth national team, in my opinion," Roberts Sahaydak said. "She's not going to be flawless but I just think she has all of the intangibles where if she keeps it up - at this age where she will continue to grow and improve - I will definitely be an advocate for her for the national team pool."

Petermann came to the States from Germany where she suited up for her country in two UEFA U17 Championships and competed at the 2010 FIFA U17 Women's World Cup. She credits the experience as one of the most important in her career.

"I think it helped build my character as a player," said Petermann, who was named the American Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week following her first career goal and assist in UCF's 5-0 win over UNF. "I learned so much tactically and technically. I try to bring this experience to other players and try to help them get better."

While Bado and Petermann have started every match for the Knights this season, Adamek's path was a little different. She used her classmates as inspiration while winning the respect of her team through her insatiable drive.

"They're role models. I look up to them," Adamek said of Bado and Petermann. "It was good to see that freshmen can do it (start), and it was motivation for me to achieve the same thing."

The Ottawa, Canada, native was inserted into the lineup against Stetson and netted two goals, including the game-winner, in the first half.

"I had so much energy going into the game, and I was happy that it produced into two goals," Adamek said. "But I did the easiest part - my teammates built up the play and I just had to tap it in."

While they are happy in their roles as starters and contributing to the team's early success, they don't claim to have all the answers either. Luckily, they have a team full of veterans to turn to for encouragement and advice.

"Tiff says take care of each other, so that's what we do on the field," Adamek said. "I'm not as nervous because I know the seniors are there, and they are being positive and pushing me to do my best."



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